Unlocked Pro Trader: The Re-Forgotten Set

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Readers!

Last week I wrote about something I called a “forgotten set” and I promptly forgot about it because I had to click on the article I wrote last week and re-read it to refresh my memory. I forgot about the forgotten set and I bet you did, too, so check out last week’s article and then immediately click on this one and keep reading as if it was one, long, continuous article so I don’t have to rehash all of the things I said about the set but you probably didn’t need to read this paragraph again why did you read this paragraph again?

One thing I didn’t cover last week was the new foils. When they had Mystery Booster, convention edition, they had those wacky playtest cards in the packs. They were fun, Gavin had a good time designing them, they broke the game in a “who gives a damn, this is a side event at a GP and the point of buying in was to get the boosters and drop so congrats for staying, here’s a busted card for funsies” sort of way. I don’t want to bust that at home, though, so they (correctly) replaced those silly playtest cards with foils to make the Mystery Booster home game even more fun. Those foils are nuts and they’re worth a look.

I’m no foil expert, but even with this being very, very scarce (only printed in a core set no one was excited about) it cutting in half overnight means there is a lot of room to grow considering this is a 1:120 pull in a set no one really bought. Its rarity doesn’t matter, all foils have a 1:120 chance of being pulled. That is a small increase in supply. If people are right about the sudden resurgence in cEDH as a major finance player and aren’t merely justifying their lazy targeting of Reserved List cards, surely a cEDH card like this which is being printed for the second time ever in foil is in play? I think this is a solid pickup and due to the low supply trickling through shuttered Local Game Stores, the price is ticking up already. You won’t get out at $35, but you won’t lose money after fees, either.

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This card was EXTREMELY scarce and I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think the amount of additional supply was small enough to be outstripped and if the price wasn’t already beginning to equilibrate. Don’t catch a falling knife and all that, but I think Jimminy Cricket said to hitch your wagon to a rising star. Or something, I don’t know, I just like this card at its current price.

I realize that New Phyrexia doesn’t grow on trees, but we are talking about a formerly $25 card gettable for $4 on ABU. There is just no literal way you don’t make money here. I don’t like foils and I think EDH foil demand is overstated and I just can’t fathom you not making money on a card that was buylisting for $20 a couple of months ago. I should move this to the end of the article. Actually, forget the rest of the article, this is the end, buy this and just mint money.

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This is ONE dollar. It’s a foil of a ridiculous card and I realize no one knows what this is and what it does until I play it and they get mad at me. I realize I don’t make YouTube videos where I’m right 20% of the time and therefore don’t have the power to move a card on my own. I realize all that and yet, I see a card that flirted with $30 available for $1 as a foil and I think “How could I resist?” I wanted a bunch of nonfoils for a deck and they were $7 each so I held off. I’m glad I did because now the foil is cheaper than the non-foil. That happens sometimes. I still want the non-foils to play with and I’ll pay the $2, I guess, but come on. I don’t think you can go wrong buying a former $7 nonfoil card in foil for $1.

This former $13 foil is now gettable for $1. The non-foil is $2. I think you just look at the list of all of the foils in this set and if it costs half as much as the non-foil version and it’s played in EDH, you take a risk. I realize the price was high due to scarcity, but this wasn’t a $1 foil in 2013. This card is absurd and to be able to pay $1 for a playable copy is great, let alone a copy some would value above the non-foils. You’ll see what I mean about EDH demand for foils being overstated if these climb more slowly than the non-foil, which I think will happen, but I also think you literally can’t miss buying this for $1.

I think the foils are a lot more scarce than people might think, stores will have a very hard time restocking with nowhere to buy in person meaning the prices will recover faster than ever before and we have foil versions of EDH staples that are significantly cheaper than the non-foil counterparts. Either the foils stabilize higher or this competition brings down the price of the non-foil, giving you a cheaper buy-in opportunity on those cards. Either way, pay attention to what happens to a lot of these $1 and $2 foils from this set that aren’t dumb cards like Greater Mossdog and Hornet Sting. Real EDH demand will raise one of both prices, both of which are deflated right now.

That does it for me this week. Stay safe out there and think about buying more than normal right now. Until next time!

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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The Watchtower 06/01/20 – Miscellaneous

I knew that I wanted to talk about a particular product (wonder what that could be?) in this week’s article and so decided that today would have to be a mixed bag of odds and ends – but don’t take that to mean that these aren’t good specs! I think there are some excellent opportunities here, so read on for some bits and pieces of miscellaneous value.


Secret Lair: Heart of Steel

Price today: $40
Possible price: $70

This is a bit of a different pick to normal for me, but I think it could well be a good one. There are five news Secret Lair Drops going live very shortly after I’ll be posting this article, and the catchily named “Can You Feel With a Heart of Steel?” looks like it could be the best value set to be had. There are only three cards here – Walking Ballista, Darksteel Colossus and Arcbound Ravager – but they’re all full art foils with some great looking new artwork, and we all know how popular a card Walking Ballista is.

In case you didn’t know how popular Walking Ballista is, it’s been a Modern staple for years and a Pioneer staple since the format was invented, and on top of that is listed in over 12k decks on EDHREC. I think that this promo might appeal to EDH players in particular, seeing as they’ll only need one (per deck) rather than the full playset. Darksteel Colossus isn’t quite as much of an EDH staple but still shows up in decent numbers, and although Affinity has fallen by the wayside in Modern since the banning of Mox Opal, Arcbound Ravager still has some impressive chops in Hardened Scales decks.

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Even if we set that aside, the raw numbers just look great here. Regular Walking Ballista foils start at $45 on TCGPlayer – that’s already more than the cost of this whole Secret Lair. But on top of that, you’ve got the Darksteel Colossus (foils starting at $15) and Arcbound Ravager (current promo version sitting at around $9). That’s $60 right there, and I think that these Ballista promos will easily be the most desirable foil for anyone looking to upgrade their deck. I could see the Ballista alone selling for $50 in a few months, and then the other two cards are just icing on the cake, to resell or use in decks as you please.

Arbitrage Opportunity: Golos, Tireless Pilgrim (Foil)

Price on MKM: €8
Price on TCGPlayer: $40

I wanted to do this as a regular pick, but the price on TCGPlayer is already sky high, and there are only ten (10) copies available across five sellers. It’s a similar story with both the prerelease foils and promo pack foils, both of which are in even shorter supply still. Over on MagicCardmarket (MKM), however, it’s quite different. Supply still isn’t hugely deep but prices across the three different versions start at just €7, with a fair few available under €10.

Obviously this isn’t a pick available to everyone, but for readers in the EU or for readers in the US with an EU trade partner, foil Golos, Tireless Pilgrims are ripe for the taking. As well as being the most popular commander from M20, Golos is also a high pick for a place in the 99 of other five colour EDH decks. He’s also seen a smattering of Modern play in Tron decks, but the main draw here is EDH, and the supply is low.

What’s also enticing about this pick is that it doesn’t need to be a quick flip, so there’s not too much rush to ship it over to the US from the EU. If you’re looking to get started with some arbitrage opportunities like this then check out my Guide to Arbitrage article I wrote a couple of months ago, and feel free to shoot me any questions on Twitter or Discord.

Mystic Sanctuary (Foil)

Price today: $5
Possible price: $10

Well, I wrote my last section for today’s article in relation to a companion deck, but now that Wizards have nerfed them into the sun I guess I’d better write about something else instead.

Mystic Sanctuary has completely changed the face of Modern. That might sound a tad melodramatic, but I honestly think it’s true. You just can’t play a blue deck (outside of tribal decks like Merfolk and Spirits) any more without playing this card. The top blue decks: Bant Snowblade, Scapeshift and Uroza (all of which are currently Yorion decks, but it’ll be interesting to see if that changes with the new tax on Companions) play 2-4 Mystic Sanctuary; it’s too powerful not to. Rebuying Cryptic Commands and Archmage’s Charms is great, but the fact that this is an Island that you can fetch makes it kinda ridiculous.

On top of the Modern play, this is the most popular card from Throne of Eldraine for EDH play. Over 12k decks are listed playing it on EDHREC, a good 2000 more than the next most popular card. Yes, this is a foil common from a recent set that I’m picking here, which is normally not something I’d consider – but this is a card that’s going to go in every spell-based blue EDH deck and Modern deck for the foreseeable future, and so I think that foils are an entirely reasonable pickup at $5 to double in 12 months or so.

There’s a pretty decent supply of these around the $5 mark, so it’ll take a little while for those to drain – but the demand is definitely there. I’d be happy to stash a couple of playsets away for 6-12 months and see where we’re at after that.


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Remastered

Wizards said that Ultimate Masters would be the last Masters set for a while. 

That was November 2018, and now we’re finding out that in August, they are back. Understandably, some people are upset and trying to avoid holding things that are about to be reprinted. We know a couple of cards already, and Double Masters has a bit of a theme they say, so if you’re picking up Twincast right now you might be unhappy when we get the full list.

But take a breath. We need to talk about what previous Masters sets have done to prices and what to do if some of your favorite specs get caught in the reprint vortex.

Let’s start with two iconic creatures of Modern: Noble Hierarch and Tarmogoyf, both of whom have had multiple printings. 

I put a purple dot on the timeline for the approximate time the card was reprinted, both of these have had that multiple times and finally in Ultimate Masters again.

What I want you to see is that the price recovered each time, until this most recent time. Noble was nearly $100 at one point, and the Goyf was famously a $200 card even in the reprint version. (For a laugh, go back and read Pascal Maynard’s article after picking foil ‘Goyf over the perfect Burst Lightning in pack 3 of his top 8 draft, I would have taken the shiny one too!)

So for these staples to lose value and stay down, two things had to happen: several targeted reprints and a big format shift.

Both of these cards were reprinted in multiple sets, and the two-drop was even mythic for most of those. The bigger news is that in late 2019, Pioneer was launched, and that’s caused a drop in a lot of Modern prices as people played less of that format and more of the new one. 

That’s what it will take for cards to go low and stay low…and that might not even be enough.

What you have to figure out is why a card is expensive, and that will tell you if the reprint will damage the price long-term, or if it’ll rebound in a year. A whole lot of the Modern Masters sets have that rebound, simply because people need the cards, and in a lot of cases, playsets of the card. Hierarch is not something you add one or two of to a deck; it’s a card you’re really hoping is in the opening hand and you wouldn’t mind drawing two.

Those two cards are staples of Modern. Let’s look at a more niche card that was expensive not because of play, but from pure scarcity: Daybreak Coronet.

Easy to forget that this was a $30 card until it was printed in Modern Masters 2015, when only one deck wanted four copies. As a rare in Future Sight, there weren’t that many copies to go around, but once there was a new supply, the price dropped and stayed dropped. Being in Ultimate Masters was the nail in the coffin, and this’ll never break $10 again.

This is what’s going to happen with Mana Crypt. You can’t reprint a card over and over again and have it maintain its price. Yes, it’ll be pricey, but the Eternal Masters version is at $175, Mystery Booster is $140, and the Double Masters will be cheaper yet. There’s a lot of other versions to chase, but these will all have the same art and the other prices will come down.

Constructed formats aren’t the only drivers though: Commander moves prices too, arguably more than any format besides Standard. Commander prices are a bit more real to me, because you’re not buying a playset, you’re buying one copy per deck. You have to have four times as many people wanting a card. For me, the example of this cycle is Doubling Season:

I’m convinced they could print this yearly at Mythic and it would be a $30 card. So many copies of this don’t get into circulation, because when you open one, you either put it in a deck that needs it or you trade it to someone else who needs it.

However, the rules of demand work the other way as well in Commander, as evidenced by Collective Voyage:

This was $15 in the summer of 2016 but only because it hadn’t been printed since 2011. A reprint in Commander 2016 destroyed the value because not enough players needed a copy for their deck. This is what’s going to happen to some specific cards that haven’t gotten many reprints, like Kaalia of the Vast. She was in the first Commander set in 2011, then the Commander’s Arsenal, and finally the first Commander Anthology. She’s never been in booster packs, and it looks like we’re going to devour Double Masters. I would be surprised if new copies went for more than $10.

Let’s look at a couple of cards that might be in Double Masters:

Time Stretch ($17-$70, 10th edition and Odyssey)

Sure, we could get something like Time Warp for one extra turn, but I think the prices are right to give this a reprint. This doesn’t have the exile clause that newer cards tend to have, and cheaper spells exist. I’d love to try casting this in Limited! A reprint here would end up at about $7 or less though, as the supply is the problem currently, not the demand. 

Kalonian Hydra ($20-$30, M14 and C16)

This would fall to $5 and start recovering not long after, because the doubling effect fits into a wide range of decks. It’s displayed this pattern before, and has had just enough reprint via the second Anthology to keep the price from skyrocketing. Also, this would be a nice treat for all the Zaxara the Exemplary decks that just got built!

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Unlocked Pro Trader: The Forgotten Set

Readers,

Today it’s time to talk about a set that Covid so thoroughly upstaged, you probably forgot it even happened. Mystery Boosters. No, not that one, Mystery Boosters: Retail Edition. Can you name the most expensive card in that set? Demonic Tutor, maybe Bloom Tender, right?

Try Mana Crypt. Mystery Boosters: Retail Edition truly is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. What’s even in the set? More importantly, which cards do I expect to tank as a result of this set everyone forgot to buy, if any, and which ones do I see an opportunity to make money on? I’m so glad I pretended you asked that because that’s the whole premise to this article. I have some opinions, so let’s get into it.

Archive here is gettable around $10 on TCG Player and it may even tank lower if things open back up soon. If it does, I recommend buying even more copies at the new price until the average price you paid is something you can live with. This is a technique I call “steering into the skid” and it very rarely results in you getting blown out by a second reprint 6 months later and then 2 reprints a year forever until you beg it to stop (LOOKING AT YOU, SANGUINE BOND). Archive flirted with $25 at its peak and I think paying $10 on a card that very recently buylisted for $10 even as it tanked is smart. Pay buylist, folks. If this goes to around $5, know you’re getting out at $15-$20 and Wizards will forget to reprint it while it heads there. This seems like a card that will be back at $20 in no time and people will say “When did THAT happen?!” like they always do, me included.

This won’t be $60 again but it also likely won’t be reprinted again. This is a messed up Magic card, it’s pure EDH and it’s tough to reprint because most formats can’t brook a 9 mana spell because it’s a dead card in a pack in Limited and they’re not putting Council’s Judgment in a Constructed set. Where, then do they print this considering it’s too good and expensive money-wise for an EDH precon even at this point and they don’t seem keen on continuing Conspiracy and Battlebond and other good reprint sets, preferring Secret Lair – lower back tat’ you regret but can’t afford to get lasered off and anyway you forget it’s there most of the time edition. This probably keeps going down and when it starts to tick back up, pounce. This won’t be affordable long.

This is like the other gods but its price graph is what it is because of how good it is. This helps Red stop being underpowered in EDH because you can easily dome the whole table quickly with Krenko or Prossh or Tempt with Vengeance. This card does WORK. This flirted with $40 for a reason and with them printing more cards than ever that fart out tokens, not fewer, this will continue to be a Red deck staple and will continue to command a high price tag. When this bottoms out, go all-in.

This isn’t just an Atraxa card but nearly every loose copy ended up in the same Atraxa deck it was bundled with, driving the price way up initially. The reprint in Commander Anthology didn’t do much. This lost 2/3 of its value instantly and after shrugging one reprint off, I expect it to shrug this off, too, considering it’s in a set everyone forgot about.

This is currently cheaper than Cairn Wanderer – don’t expect that to hold. I don’t have a ton to say here. In fact, I may not say much about the next few bonus picks and just let their graph speak for itself rather than write more words. A picture is worth 1,000 and I’m way over my wordcap as it is.

Wave-goodbye-1024x576 - The DI Wire

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